Besides all of the legal trouble that can come with a DUI, your driving record is blemished. A DUI stays on your driving record for five to 10 years in most states. Depending on where you live, you could even have a DUI on your driving record for life.
That’s a big deal, as a driving record with a DUI can cause several problems down the road. This includes rising insurance rates, SR-22 filing requirements and employment difficulties.
You’ll learn about all of the above in this article, which covers:
- How long a DUI stays on a driving record in each state
- States with the most DUIs
- How to get a DUI off your record
- How a DUI affects your car insurance rates
- How long a DUI affects your car insurance rates
- How to check your driving record
How long does a DUI stay on your driving record?
In most states, a DUI will stay on your driving record for five to 10 years. Every state handles DUIs differently, so it's hard to give one-size-fits-all advice about them. While reading about how your state deals with DUI charges or convictions, though, consider these facts:
- Most states use a point system to track your driving. When you commit a traffic violation, the state DMV places points on your license. If you rack up enough points, your license may be suspended.
- Insurance companies check your driver’s license points when pricing your insurance policy. More license points lead to higher insurance rates.
- Of the states that use a point system, some give points for DUIs, while others opt for harsher penalties. In lieu of points, those states may automatically suspend your license or fine you after a DUI.
- The number of license points given for a DUI varies by state. The length of time those points stay on a license also depends on where you live. In some states, it's a set amount of years. In other states, you can subtract points every year without driving violations.
The table below outlines how long a DUI stays on a driving record in each state. It also covers the amount of license points given for DUIs and how long those points stay on a license. In states with more severe penalties than license points, drivers usually face automatic license suspension.
|State||On record for||Points||Point length|
|Alabama||5 years||6 points||2 years|
|Alaska||For life||10 points||2 points off every 2 years|
|Arizona||5 years||8 points||3 years|
|Arkansas||5 years||14 points||3 years|
|California||10 years||2 points||13 years|
|Colorado||10 years||8 points||2 years|
|Connecticut||10 years||3 points||2 years|
|Delaware||5 years||Extra penalties||N/A|
|Florida||75 years||Extra penalties||3 years|
|Georgia||10 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Hawaii||5 years||No point system||N/A|
|Idaho||For life||Extra penalties||3 years|
|Illinois||For life||No point system||N/A|
|Indiana||For life||8 points||2 years|
|Iowa||12 years||No point system||N/A|
|Kansas||For life||No point system||N/A|
|Kentucky||5 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Louisiana||10 years||No point system||N/A|
|Maine||For life||Extra penalties||1 year|
|Maryland||5 years||12 points||3 years|
|Massachusetts||10 years||5 points||6 years|
|Michigan||7 years||6 points||2 years|
|Minnesota||10 years||No point system||N/A|
|Mississippi||5 years||No point system||N/A|
|Missouri||10 years||8 points||1.5 years|
|Montana||5 years||10 points||3 years|
|Nebraska||12 years||6 points||2 years|
|Nevada||7 years||Extra penalties||1 year|
|New Hampshire||10 years||6 points||3 years|
|New Jersey||10 years||Extra penalties||N/A|
|New Mexico||55 years||Extra penalties||1 year|
|New York||15 years||Extra penalties||1.5 years|
|North Carolina||7 years||Extra penalties||3 years|
|North Dakota||7 years||Extra penalties||3 years|
|Ohio||For life||6 points||3 years|
|Oklahoma||10 years||Extra penalties||3 years|
|Oregon||For life||No point system||N/A|
|Pennsylvania||10 years||Extra penalties||3 points off per year|
|Rhode Island||5 years||No point system||N/A|
|South Carolina||10 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|South Dakota||10 years||10 points||Varies|
|Tennessee||For life||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Texas||For life||2 points||3 years|
|Utah||10 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Vermont||For life||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Virginia||11 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Washington||15 years||No point system||N/A|
|West Virginia||10 years||Extra penalties||2 years|
|Wisconsin||10 years||6 points||5 years|
|Wyoming||10 years||No point system||N/A|
Why a DUI on your driving record matters
A DUI on your driving record can lead to a few problems, including:
- Higher insurance rates
- Employment difficulties if your job involves driving
- License suspension
Your driving record plays a major role in determining the price of your insurance policy. It's one of the first things insurance companies look at when they evaluate your risk level. Drivers with high risk levels often pay a lot more for car insurance than those who are a low risk.
That means if your driving record is filled with tickets or accidents — or, in this case, one or more DUIs — your insurance rates may rise. Insurers typically consider the last three to five years of your driving record when calculating a premium. If you rack up multiple infractions during that time, your insurer might even cancel your coverage.
Depending on your career, a splotchy driving record can impact your employment opportunities. Requirements for commercial driver's licenses include having a clean driving record.
Finally, if your driving record contains too many citations or infractions, you might see your license suspended. The threshold for license suspension varies by state. In some states, a DUI warrants an automatic suspension.
If your license is suspended, you'll probably need to file an SR-22 or an FR-44. To reinstate your license, you have to prove you’re carrying the minimum amount of liability car insurance the state requires. That's what an SR-22 form is — a certificate of financial responsibility. It shows you’ve bought at least the required amount of auto coverage.
SR-22 requirements generally last three years. Many insurers will charge you a flat fee to file SR-22 forms during this period. DMVs often charge a filing fee, too. That's in addition to the license reinstatement fees you’ll have to pay. In other words, needing an SR-22 can be costly.
If you get a DUI in one state, does it show up on your driving record in another state?
Yes, most states transfer violations from past states. It depends on your new state's laws, but it's a good rule of thumb to assume your DUI will show up on any driving record. That's the case if you get a DUI while out of your home state, or if you move to a new state with an old DUI on your record.
If you get a DUI while visiting another state, it will likely be shared with your home state's DMV through something called the Driver License Compact. Every state participates except for Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin. But even those states often have informal agreements with other states to exchange driver information.
States with the most DUIs
Driving while impaired can cost you more than just your license — it can cost you or someone else their life. The number of fatal crashes has increased by nearly 20% from 2019 to 2020, and another 11% from 2020 to 2021. We found that 36% of those fatal crashes involved alcohol.
Fatal crashes involving alcohol are most prevalent in Texas, Montana and Rhode Island, where nearly 50% of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol. Mississippi, Georgia and Utah have the lowest numbers of fatal crashes involving alcohol.
|State||All traffic fatalities||% of fatal crashes involving alcohol||% of drivers legally or severely impaired|
|Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Association|
While fatal crashes are up, the number of DUIs issued by law enforcement has declined significantly over the last decade. From 2010 to 2019, the number of DUI citations issued nationwide dropped by 33%, mainly because of increased awareness campaigns, stricter DUI penalties and ridesharing programs.
During that same period, North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia experienced the biggest drops in DUIs. Citations in those three states declined by as much as 72%.
Nationwide, only five states have seen an increase in DUIs over the last decade. DUI citations have increased by more than 110% in Delaware. However, the other four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Utah — are issuing more DUI tickets and seeing significantly lower increases.
North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have the highest rates of DUIs, each averaging around 80 DUI tickets for every 10,000 drivers. Illinois, Delaware and Alabama have the lowest rates of DUIs, at 16 or fewer citations per 10,000 drivers.
|State||Total number of DUIs||% chance from 2010||DUIs per 10k drivers|
|Data was sourced from the FBI Uniform Crime Report 2010-2019, based on the latest DUI crime data available. The total number of DUIs and DUIs per 10K drivers are based on data from 2019.|
Cities with the most drunk-driving incidents
Every day in the U.S., drunk driving claims nearly 37 lives. Even with drunk driving fatalities decreasing by a third over the last three decades, too many lives are still lost to drunk driving. Cost data from the NHTSA shows deaths and damages caused by drunk driving to be over $40 billion annually.
Taking a closer look, our team analyzed self-reported data from our users on driving infractions, including DUIs, to determine which cities have the most drunk drivers. These rankings are based on over one million data points on drunk driving infractions from 2023. Cities ranked under "most drunk-driving cities" have the highest rate of DUIs per driver, while the "least drunk-driving cities" have the fewest.
|6||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|1||Little Rock, Ark.|
|10||Baton Rouge, La.|
Six out of the top 10 most drunk-driving cities are in California. Although the Golden State has strict DUI laws, the roads are so densely populated that the risk of driving under the influence is much greater.
How to get a DUI off your driving record
The first thing you should do to get a DUI off your record is seek legal help. DUI laws are complex, and the chances of beating a DUI without an attorney's assistance are minimal. Our research shows that people with DUI lawyers are three times more likely to get a DUI charge reduced.
A lawyer can help you beat a criminal charge. Unfortunately, removing, sealing or expunging a DUI from your criminal record doesn't mean it's no longer on your driving record.
This means there's usually nothing you can do to get a DUI off your driving record besides wait. A DUI stays on your driving record until the amount of time specified by state law elapses. Check out the table above to see how long that period is in your state.
Regardless of the specifics of your situation, you should consult an attorney who has experience handling DUI cases. They can give you advice and help you mitigate the damage that comes with a DUI.
How does a DUI hurt your car insurance rates?
Our research shows that a DUI can increase insurance rates by 80%. Expect to pay higher insurance rates for three to five years, assuming your driving record stays clean during that time. If you get into an accident or a traffic infraction during those three to five years, your rates may increase exponentially.
Compare quotes to find cheap car insurance after a DUI
How long does a DUI hurt your car insurance rates?
How long a DUI impacts your car insurance rates isn’t always the same as how long a DUI stays on your record. That’s because your insurance record and your driving record aren’t the same thing; just like your driving record and criminal record aren’t the same thing.
Insurers typically look at incidents from the last three to five years when pricing an auto policy. If you have an accident or a violation on your record in the last three to five years, expect to pay more for car insurance. If you have multiple incidents — like accidents, speeding tickets or DUIs — during that period, you’ll probably pay even higher rates.
If three to five years pass without any additional incidents, ask your insurance company to reassess your rates. There's a good chance your rate will go back to normal once that time has passed.
How to check your driving record
Curious if an old infraction is still on your record? Fortunately, it's pretty easy to check your driving record to find out. The exact process varies depending on what state you live in, but here's how to do it in general:
- Find your state's official department of licensing or department of motor vehicles website. Make sure the website URL ends in .gov.
- Search the website for a driving record page. Most of these pages have a search function you can use. Check for a “records” or “documents” tab.
- You'll likely have to pay a small fee — around $10 in most states — to get a copy of your driving record. For example, in Michigan it's $11.
You can get a copy of your driving record in person directly from your local DMV, too. It's also possible that your insurance agent has a copy on file.
Once you have a copy of your driving record, check to make sure all listed dates and incidents are correct.
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